Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Monsoon floods kill 81 in India, force 2M to flee

The worst monsoon floods in a decade to hit a remote northeastern Indian state have killed more than 80 people and forced around 2 million to leave their homes.

Nearly half a million people are living in relief camps that have been set up across Assam state, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists Monday in Gauhati, Assam's capital.

The rest of the 2 million displaced are living with relatives or sheltering under tarpaulin sheets. Assam officials say 81 people have been killed over the past four days.

Most were swept away when the mighty Brahmaputra River overflowed and flooded villages. Sixteen people were buried in landslides triggered by the rains.

At least 11 people were missing in six districts, the state disaster management agency said. Air force helicopters were dropping food packets and drinking water to marooned people, Singh said after surveying the flood-hit districts.

Army soldiers used boats to rescue villagers from rooftops of flooded homes. Teams of doctors have opened health clinics in the 770 relief camps that had been set up across Assam, one of India's main tea-growing states.

The hilly tea growing areas have not been affected, but lower rice fields have been washed away. Thousands of cattle have perished after being swept away by the raging water or getting stuck in the mud.

The stench of rotting animal carcasses was adding to the woes of the people in tents at the relief camps, officials said.

In the worst-hit Dhemaji district, raging waters of the Brahmaputra River swept away entire villages. Officials said the entire Majuli island, one of the world's largest river islands, was awash as the Brahmaputra rose above the danger level.

Railway workers were working round the clock to restore train services disrupted after railway tracks became submerged. "Restoration of the railway line is a priority," Singh said.

The situation was expected to improve over the next few days as the rain was tapering off and water was beginning to recede. Monsoon floods hit Assam, with a population of 26 million people, almost every year, with heavy rains swelling the Brahmaputra and its innumerable tributaries that crisscross the state.

Tuesday 3 July 2012


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10 Died, 17 Injured After Bus Accident

SURAT THANI, Thailand, July 3 (Bernama) -- Ten people, including an Indian, died and 17 injured early Tuesday after a tour bus hit a high-powered electricity pole in the southern province of Surat Thani, police said.

The accident occurred before dawn when the front tyre of the tour bus operated by state-run Transport Co., Ltd. burst, causing the bus which was running at high speed to lose control and hit the electricity pole on the road side, Thai News Agency quoted the police as saying.

Nine passengers -- four men and five women -- and the driver died at the scene of the accident.

The Indian passenger who was killed in the accident was identified as Amit Jain. Police said the 17 injured passengers were later sent to two hospitals for treatment.

The tour bus left Bangkok and was heading for Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province when the accident occurred.

Tuesday 3 July 2012


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